Virgin Racing has been forced into making substantial modifications to the design of the fuel tank of its Formula One car after it was found to be too small to allow the car to get to the end of some races.
The FIA has granted the team special dispensation to make the changes; its chassis design had already been homologated by the FIA and changes wouldn’t normally be allowed.
The tank is too small for tracks where fuel consumption is likely to be quite heavy, such as at this weekend’s Australian grand prix in Melbourne.
Virgin’s technical director Nick Wirth, who designed the team’s car without the use of a wind tunnel by solely using CFD, said the changes were likely to be in force for the Turkish grand prix.
“We recently applied to the FIA for permission to change the size of the fuel tank on the grounds of reliability and we are pleased that the FIA has granted us this permission," he said.
"It has become clear during pre-season testing and our debut race in Bahrain that our fuel tank capacity is marginal and if not addressed there is the possibility that fuel pick-up could become an issue in certain circumstances.
"At the time the design of the tank was locked down in June 2009, its capacity was determined by a number of factors, some of which have since changed, and the tank capacity now needs to be increased accordingly. We thank the FIA for permitting this change, which we expect to introduce in the early part of the European season."